Life, in all aspects, is beautiful, amazing, wonderful, exciting, and full of everlasting change. It is also challenging, hard, prone to suffering, and comes with loss.
This past week, I lost my last surviving grandparent. She was a wonderful woman who lived a great life and passed away peacefully in her sleep at 93. As our family came together to grieve and celebrate her life, I started to think about the impact her loss has on our lives and how we cope and deal with it. Of course, as I thought more about this topic, my mind wandered toward the losses we face in business and entrepreneurship.
Coping and dealing with losing and loss is not something that there is a step by step handbook for. We learn how to deal with it in our own way through our experiences over time.
And when it comes to entrepreneurship, one of the best things we can do to help our success is to learn to how to thrive despite losing. In fact, as entrepreneurs, we tend to lose more than we win.
So, how to do you thrive through loss? Personally, I have found a few things over the years that really work for me.
First, is perspective. In order to deal with a loss, you must maintain perspective historically and in the moment. For example, for me this week, I was obviously saddened by my grandmother's death, but at the same time, I took solace in remembering her amazing life and knowing that she left us peacefully and did not suffer. And because I am a believer in Christ, I know that we are all just passing through this life to our real home. She is now home and it makes me smile. Keeping this perspective helped me and discussing it with family helped them as well. We all know death on this earth is a part of life, but we put it aside until we have to deal with it and perspective helps us in those moments.
Second, I do my best to separate emotion from logic. This doesn't mean I throw one or the other out - it just means I separate them and understand them and don't act impulsively in the moment. Emotions drive our actions in life and logic can help us make sure we are acting with the right emotions. For example, there were a number of circumstances due to Covid that made it hard on my grandmother in her final days and made it hard on her family - even keeping some members from being able to see her or severely restricting this ability. It sucked. It really did. And it made me angry in the way it was handled by the center in which was living. But, letting that anger control my actions and thus my life was not something I could do. I had to separate the emotion and ask logically if I should be letting the anger run me during this time. I chose not to let it impact me and got rid of it.
Lastly, find something positive to focus on. We become what we think about and if we focus on the negative, we will get negativity in our lives. During hard times or time of loss in life or business, we must find positive things to focus on. In my case, I was truly inspired and filled with happiness as I looked at all the family members that are in this world because of my grandmother. When you take into account that any one person's chances of being alive are 1 in 4 Trillion, to see all of these incredible people and all the grandchildren that are a result of one woman - it is truly breathtaking. Her legacy will live on for many generations.
Loss is a part of life and business. It is how we cope and deal with it that matters most. Think on this topic for yourself and ask how you can prepare yourself to deal and manage through loss in your life. It will help you tremendously.
2021 is under way and if you are like me, you have been strategizing on how to make it your best year yet, no matter what gets in your way. As I have been planning and starting the year acting on my plans, one thing that has become apparent is how important it is to be focused this year. And when I say focused, I mean making sure that I really understand and know the things that work and drive the results needed to meet my goals, and stay focused on them.
For that, I use the 80/20 Rule. The rule states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts or activities. And many times, it is more like the 90/10 or even 95/5 rule. But, that begs the question and the one you should be asking - "What are my 20% activities?"
The answer will give you the places you need to focus and double down on your efforts. So, as you get going into this year, take some very serious and focused time to really analyze the actions and activities you take in your life and determine which ones make the most difference and drive the most results in reaching your goals.
Then, put those into action, double down on them. Cut out the noise and shiny objects. Work at them, make them better, and don't stop. Many people think success is this flashy thing, but it's not. It's not Hollywood or what you see on TV. Success is really disciplined, consistent focused application of the 80/20 Rule. It's lather, rinse, repeat. In fact, sometimes, it can be downright boring - but who cares if you are reaching your goals and dreams that you aspire to. It doesn't matter if it looks good or flashy - it matters if you reach the goal or not.
Put the 80/20 Rule to work for you and go make it happen!
Each year, our Misfit Entrepreneur guests ends each episode by giving their Misfit 3, the 3 most important pieces of wisdom they want you to take and put into your life and your business.
An each year, at the end of the year, I go through and pick the 25 "best of the best" to share with you. My hope if that you can use this incredible wisdom and advice to help you get off to a great start in the New Year.
Here are the Misfit Entrepreneur Misfit 3 Top 25!
Each year brings tremendous opportunity. Unfortunately, most people miss out on a lot of the opportunity available to them.
This happens for a few reasons.
First, one of our biggest problems we have as a society is that we have been conditioned to be an "instant society" and expect everything immediately. I often say "we stop the microwave with 3 seconds left - we cannot even wait 3 seconds." This poses a problem when striving for success and for capitalizing on opportunities, because much of the time success is not an instant thing.
The most important thing I do from a mindset approach when planning for a new year is to understand and take to heart this simple wisdom, "We overestimate what we can accomplish in a week and underestimate what we can accomplish in a year." I am as guilty as anyone of getting wrapped up in the instantness of life and I have to diligently work to keep perspective and keep going, knowing that if I do, a year from now, I will look back and have accomplished many great things.
Second, I take time each year between Christmas and New Year's (usually a full day) to think hard on the successes and failures of the last year. I write down my big takeaways and how I can use what I learned to help me in the next year. I also take that time to review my principles and core values to make sure everything still aligns. I then review each of my businesses and pick the 2 most important things I want to accomplish in them for the year. My goal is to accomplish those early on in the year, then pick 2 more and go after those and so on. I have found that working on just 2 at a time helps me to reach success faster because I am focused.
Third, I take time to look at my personal and family life and do the same exercise looking at my mistakes/failures, principles/values, and deciding on the 2 most important things I want to focus on to start the year. If things are not aligned in your personal/family life, it makes it very hard to succeed in anything. I then share all of this with my wife and daughter, to get feedback and make sure we are on the same page together.
Once, I've done this, I then put it into a 1 page document that I can refer back to throughout the year. It is always amazing how at the end of the year when I refer back to it, how much I have been able to accomplish and what I've added as the year goes on.
Remember, "most overestimate what they can do in a week and underestimate what they can do in a year." Be the latter.
Here's to your success!
My wife has this canvas in her office that says, "Today is a good day...to have a good day."
I've never given too much thought about it, except that it was an inspirational phrase....until recently.
I happened to be helping her with some work in her office and re-read for the first time in a while. I began to think about it a little deep and found that I absolutely love it. I wish I had thought of the phrase!
Why? Because it is not just a motivational phrase but a reminder that we have a choice. Every day we have a choice when we get out of bed of what kind of day we are going to have. We get to choose how we will approach things. We get to choose our attitude. We get to choose everything and how we respond to what happens in our lives.
People forget that. Many people go about just letting "life happen to them" and then reacting to it. They don't seem to have control over anything and cede this personal power to whatever outside influences are acting on their life at the moment.
Don't let this happen to you. You choose. Don't let outside influences control you or your destiny.
The simplest place to start with your attitude. This is something you can choose. You can choose to have a good attitude, a positive, grateful one every day or a poor, negative one. And your attitude will manifest on the outside. It is truly a reflection of your inner game. So, if you choose to have a good attitude, it will manifest good things in your life. If you choose a poor attitude, it will do the opposite.
Remember, you get to wake up every day and say "Today is a good day...to have a good day." Now, go out and make it so!
If you are sport fan like me, you've no doubt gotten pretty excited when you favorite team is "on a roll." You know what I mean. They seem to have it all going well for them. They are scoring at will. Everything the other team tries doesn't seem work. In short, your team has all the momentum.
This is very easy to see in sports and it's also amazing to watch the changes in momentum in the course of a single game.
Entrepreneurship is the same. We go through and ebb and flow of momentum on a daily, weekly, or even annual basis. Many entrepreneurs fail to notice these momentum swings as they are so mired in the business and day to day. Because of this, they are missing out on one of their biggest secret weapons - taking advantage of and fostering momentum throughout their organization to help them be more successful.
Momentum is contagious. Even watching a sports game on television, you can feel it. You can feel it happening, the energy around it, the good feelings, the excitement, and so on. Think about how you feel when your team is on a roll. Think about how strong and powerful they seem and how you tap into that. They are like a soaring eagle.
It's the same thing in your business. When you business gets on a roll and has momentum, it's up to you as the leader tap into it and foster the energy and excitement throughout the organization. Momentum is contagious, as long as people are aware and have the ability to tap into it. It's your job as a leader to help spread momentum throughout your organization and make it known. The more engaged people are into momentum to longer last and more successful it will be.
Conversely, when you feel momentum slowing down, you need to do everything in your power as a leader to regain or find the next opportunity for momentum. You should always be on the lookout for your next momentum driver or inspiration.
If you make it a point to foster momentum in your organization on a consistent basis, you'll tap into a secret weapon that many entrepreneurs miss and find yourself and your business more successful.
Get out there and get momentum!
The other day it snowed a lot overnight. Aside from waking up to a cold morning and taking in the sight of the fresh fallen snow on the trees and all around, I didn't think too much of it. I had to get to work.
About mid-day, my daughter came into my office and ask if she could go play outside in the snow. I said, "Of course" and we got her all bundled up to go outside. My office has a big window that faces out onto the front of our acreage and I could see my daughter playing and having a blast with her sled and other things in the snow - by herself. She was having a great time.
I was in the middle of wrapping up some things for the day and could have done more. There is always more to do, right?
But, instead, I decided to play. I threw my winter clothes on and surprised her outside. For the next hour, we did sled races, built snowmen, ran around with the dog - basically, all the fun you could have. I forgot about any work, but towards the end watching her and the dog run around, a was struck by inspiration. I had been working on solving a business problem earlier in the day and couldn't quite get it right.
But, by just taking some time to play and get away from things for a bit, the answer became very clear. It was almost too easy.
We often forget how important it is for us to take time away, even during the day, and give our minds a break. More importantly, we often forget how important it is for us to play and have fun in our lives - and how that can translate to even more success.
Make sure you take time to play and give yourself and your mind a break - daily if you can do it. You'll have less stress, give your mind a break, and most importantly, find that playing will help you be more successful and prosperous in all areas of your life. I wouldn't trade those moments with my kiddo for anything!
As we get into the end of the year and the holidays, I think we all welcome some real downtime. A break from it all. A break from the pandemic, a break from the rigorous day to day to keep business going, and a break from social media, the news - the bombardment of life.
This year will offer us a good opportunity to take that break, even if it is for just a few days or so. And when that time comes, it's always nice to lose yourself in a good book.
With that said, here are 3 of my favorites to enjoy during your break.
Top Fiction Book
I have really enjoyed delving into the James Rollins Sigma Force series of books this year. If I had to describe them, they are part Indiana Jones, part Jason born. And they are also "faction," and this is what I love most about James - he meticulously researches to find truth from history and science and builds an awesome story around it. I am always amazed at how much of the things in his books are true. So, not only are the stories/adventures page turners, I get to learn things as well. His latest book is called the Last Odyssey and is the book I started with before going back and starting the series from the beginning. The nice thing about the Last Odyssey is that you don't need to read the series to understand what is going on, so it is a great place to start. But, if you want to start from the first book, pick up Sandstorm. The "opening scene" of the book is awesome.
Top Non-Fiction Book
My top non-fiction book for the year is The Volunteer by Jack Fairweather. It is about the man who volunteered to go into the Auschwitz death camp and bring it down from the inside. I have mentioned this book before, not just because of how amazing the story is and how well written the book is, but because of what you will learn about what really happened in the Nazi death camps and get a healthy dose of reality and lessons for life. This book is not for the faint of heart, but is a must read.
Top Book to Make You Think
My top book for making your thinking and looking at society in a different way is The Parasitic Mind by Gad Saad. I admit, I recently started this book, but it is already incredible. It is all about how easily common sense can be destroyed by "idea pathogens" in our live and what we can do about it. It really helps you to better understand reason and become a better independent thinker. Dr. Gad Saad is one of the top behavioral science and marketing thinkers of our time.
Anything can be learned. I'm serious. Anything.
If you want to be a rocket scientist, you can learn to be one. If you want to learn how to pilot a plane, you can learn how. If you want to learn how to be a better entrepreneur, you can do that too.
So, then, why if anything can learned, do so few reach their goals, dreams, or new heights to which they aspire?
One word, Desire. They lack the desire, the will, to do what it takes to learn the things they need to learn to reach the goal. They don't want it bad enough and thus are not willing to put in the time, effort, sacrifice needed to learn. Anything can be learned - we just really don't want to learn it.
I'm reminded of a great quote by Robert Heinlein, “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
He's right - specialization is for insects. We can and should learn to be much more than we are today. All it takes is a little desire, will, discipline, and commitment.
Look at your life and ask, "Is this it? Is this all I am destined for?" I think you know the answer. You have so much capability and personal power waiting to be unleashed. Don't waste it or the time you have.
Anything can learned, so get learning, and put it into action!
Decision making is one of the most important skills you can develop for your success. Not only will making good decisions help you in business, but in all areas of life.
But how do you know you are making good decisions? Here is how.
First, in order to make a good decision, you have to understand that emotions can will affect it. That is OK. But you need to recognize the emotions that are impacting the decision and decide if they are useful or detracting to making the best decision in the moment. For example, is fear driving the decision? If so, is it truly warranted or is the fear unfounded and not to the level the emotional reaction is giving?
Second, see all sides. Take the time to see the different sides of the decision and their impacts - look at things objectively and understand the potential benefits and consequences.
Third, seek advice if warranted. Don't go it alone. Ask those your trust for their thoughts or for things you may be missing. This is a check and balance to make sure you've looked at all sides and that you are not letting emotions run the outcome.
Fourth, take your time, sleep on things if you must - but don't overanalyze. Once you've gathered the information and seen all sides, you'll have a pretty good idea or inkling of which way to go. Don't procrastinate on it.
Lastly, stick to your principles and own it. As a final check, make sure that you are not violating your principles and values in the decision you make. The own it. Take responsibility and see it through.
If you follow the advice above, you'll be able to make smart decisions and boost your success!
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